Skip to main content

When To Talk And When To Shut Up

I've been following the "Pizzagate" (a.k.a. "Pedogate") scandal since it broke late last year. Of all the public crises I've seen over the years, this is easily the most sickening. If anything positive can be said it is that many people have defied a whole range of threats in order to keep investigating it, and to tell others about what has been found. 
An outgrowth of the citizen investigation is infighting between some of its researchers and others. Part of the conflict no doubt has to do with paid "shills" infiltrating research forums and intentionally creating contention. But part of it is also the natural course of events when different people seek to serve as spokespeople for a cause.
I don't want to get into the weeds of this particular case, but rather it seems important to extract a few key nuggets from its unfolding. And there are only a few, but they are important. 
  • First, if you have taken on a very serious issue that threatens the reputation of others, it is critical that you cleanse your personal and professional slate of any conflicts of interest. In this case, one of the researchers was promoting a product while also making videos about the issue. This naturally led people to question his credibility, and in order to restore that he severed those financial ties. Fair or not fair, you will be held to a higher standard if you take this kind of thing on.
  • Second, if you engage with other spokespeople who have been victimized by the outcome of the cause, it is very important not to exploit (or appear to exploit) their suffering. In other words, it is one thing to join forces; it is another to engage a victims' name for the sake of advancing your own personal brand.
  • Third, if you take on a high-profile controversy, understand that your every word and every move will be scrutinized closely. You aren't necessarily going to like that - of course. But if you take on the mantle of a citizen crusader, expect that you yourself will be targeted and criticized harshly. That is just the way it is.
  • Finally, and most importantly, if your name and involvement becomes a distraction in the campaign, then it may be worth considering whether to back off and let others take over the fight. Only you can make that determination, but if the cause is truly more important to you, and you can't shed the baggage that's leading people to focus on attacking you in particular, it is counterproductive to keep on putting your name out there only to divert attention.
I am suffering in my heart from the information that is out there. It's evil and it's too much for me to take sometimes. 
But I am heartened at the courage of the citizen researchers who have put their names, their voices and their time toward bringing forth evidence for law enforcement to consider. They see the same thing I see, and it is no doubt incredibly difficult to work with this kind of subject matter every day. But they are putting their pain to good purpose.
Thank you not only to the citizen researchers, but also to the nonprofits who stand up for victims of child sex trafficking, our men and women in law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies, Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and of course Donald Trump, the President of the United States. 
All of you make me proud to be an American.
All opinions my own.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …